Thailand’s coup given credit for taxi cartel crackdown in Phuket

PHUKET: Thailand’s coup opened the gates for police to sweep Phuket clean of the island’s notorious taxi and tuk-tuk cartels, said Commander of the Royal Thai Police Region 8 Panya Mamen today.

Lt Gen Panya explained that the Army’s support was instrumental in enabling months of hard police work to come to fruition.

“Since the coup, it has been easy for us to carry out raids, as we have military support from the Fourth Army Area Command,” Gen Panya said.

Officers will turn their sights on the Patong taxi mafia tomorrow, after having destroyed illegal taxi stands in Cherng Talay, Kata-Karon and Kamala today (story here).

“We are now collecting information from witnesses about the taxi mafia operating in Patong. It might take a long time before we get all the results we want,” Gen Panya said.

“In the past, we just arrested the small guys. Now, however, we are going to root out the people who are behind the cartels.

“As soon as we have enough evidence, we will arrest them.”

Yesterday, a deployment of 100 soldiers from Southern Thailand provided military support to a task force of 1,110 police officers and 40 volunteers who swept through the west coast to purge the island of illegal, violent, abusive and cheating taxi, tuk-tuk and minivan drivers (story here).

Officers served 73 arrest warrants before meeting with the press yesterday and handed out 20 more after that, leaving officers just 18 arrest warrants shy of serving the 111 warrants issued for the blitz.

“I believe the remaining suspects will turn themselves in soon,” Lt Gen Panya said.

Gen Panya told the press last night that kickback-ripoff scams in Phuket from 2009 had cost the island’s economy an estimated 500 million baht.

— Woranut Pechdee

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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